Reporting Derek Valcourt
BALTIMORE (WJZ)—Assassinated in Afghanistan. The Maryland National Guard confirms a high-ranking Baltimore soldier was one of two men killed inside a secure government building in Afghanistan.
Derek Valcourt has reaction from those who knew the fallen hero.
The soldier’s remains are scheduled to arrive to Dover Air Force base Monday night.
It’s a heartbreaking homecoming for the family he left behind.
Maj. Robert Marchanti, 48, worked as an adviser and mentor helping to train Afghan police.
But military officials say this weekend one of those Afghan policemen assassinated Marchanti and another U.S. officer inside the highly secured interior ministry building in Kabul.
That attack was suspected payback for the burning of the Quran by American troops at a U.S. air base last Monday.
“My dad was, he was a good man,” said Aaron Marchanti, the fallen soldier’s son.
The news is devastating to Marchanti’s wife and four children, who live in Baltimore.
“He’s always said take care of mommy,” said Leah Marchanti, victim’s daughter.
“He said ‘Take care of my sweetheart if anything every happens to me,’ and that’s what we’re going to do,” Aaron Marchanti added.
Before taking full-time work with the National Guard in 2008, Marchanti spent years as a physical education teacher for several Baltimore County schools.
Facebook condolence messages are pouring in from the students he taught over the years.
His last teaching job was at Carney Elementary, where staff remember him well.
“He was the kind of guy who came into the room and calmed it down,” said Melissa Warminski, Carney Elementary teacher.
“When he got his job with the Army he said he had two passions in life. One was working with kids. The other was being a soldier, and he was so fortunate he got to do both,” said Bill Adey, Carney Elementary teacher.
The death is also painful to Marchanti’s friends at Maryland National Guard Armory.
“He was a gentle giant. He was unimposing,” said Lt. Col. Charlie Kohler, Maryland National Guard.
He is the 12th Maryland guardsman to lose his life in the global war on terror.
“It’s really touching to see how many people’s lives he did touch,” Kohler said.
Maj. Marchanti’s killer is still at large in Afghanistan. Authorities there say they know who he is and are conducting a search to find him.
Since Marchanti’s murder, the top U.S. commander in Afghanistan has withdrawn all military advisers from the Afghan ministry buildings.